Saltwater- Rockfish are the big attraction inside the bay and it’s tributaries right now. Many of the better fish seem to be coming from the lower bay, such as the CBBT, the mouth of the James, and York rivers. Jigging has been good lately, especially at the mouth of the Potomac ,  and Rappahannock rivers. Trolling hasn’t quite taken off yet, but Eeling is becoming more productive. The Cape Charles area is always popular for eelers. Night fishing continues to be better  while fishing around bridge structures. Lipless crankbaits, swimbaits, and bucktails are common baits. The bridges have been excellent for Tautogs, but crab makes a big difference in success. The CBBT gets most of the attention, but other bridges and reef areas are producing nice Togs also. Speckled Trout anglers are enjoying some good action inside Lynnhaven Inlet , Rudee Inlet , and Little Creek. Gulp! baits are always good, as are Mirrorlures, and swim shads. Puppy Drum inhabit these same areas and are typically more aggressive. Deep droppers are also enjoying a great bite when conditions allow. The Seabass and Tilefish are willing biters, just bring along plenty of bait. Boats out of Hatteras have been experiencing a strong bite for Blackfin Tuna ,  and Wahoo are still being caught. The surf at Nags Head and areas south are seeing a strong Red Drum bite. The surf has also been good for Puppy Drum, Speckled Trout, and Black Drum have been active along the Outer Banks Pier.

Freshwater- The upper James is still low, but the Smallmouth have become much more active with the cooler weather. Cloudy, and/ or rainy days often produce the best results on the river. Hard baits are working well right now, but soft plastics and jigs work better when slow days bring reduced strike zones. The lower James doesn’t  have quite the clear water that the upper James does, so the Bass tend to be a little more willing to cooperate. The pits have cleaner, warmer water, causing them to stay attractive to gamefish throughout the winter. This is one of the best times to fish the James for trophy fish. The Cats have become much more active also, and big weights are becoming more common now. Weights improved a little this week at Lake Anna, as the first winter series tournament is done. Shawn Yi of Fairfax was the winner with 14.92 lbs. Big fish of the tournament was a 6.15. Crankbaits , swimbaits , jigs, and shakey heads are common producers everywhere ,  not just Anna. Gaston has a strong dock bite going on now, especially on sunny days. Crappie are starting to move to deeper structure, such as bridge pilings and brush piles. Landlocked Stripers are much  more active as the water temps drop into the low 50′s. Topwater baits are excellent lures in this water temperature. Many of the local ponds are seeing excellent results for Crappie and Bass right now.

- Stan Cobb

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